Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Dealing With Your Ideas

A pen, a notebook, and a crumpled ball of paper

We all have ideas. Ideas for businesses, services, apps, a blog post or an article or a book. With some of us, those ideas come in fast and furious. With others, ideas come in a slow trickle. In either case, those ideas tend to pile up either on slips of paper, in notebooks, or in tools like Simplenote or Evernote.

A lot of ideas come into my head each week — for articles, for blog posts, for ebooks, and more. A majority of those ideas wither and die on the vine. Why? Often, I just don’t have the time to tackle them. But in some cases, the ideas aren’t any good.

In the past, I’d cling to ideas with a knuckle-whitening death grip. Years would pass, and those ideas would still linger. Then, one day I asked myself a hard question:

Is it worthwhile to hold on to those ideas, whether they’re on paper or in a digital form, until you can tackle them or better develop them?

After a lot of thought, I came to a conclusion. That conclusion? Get rid of those ideas. Stuffing them away like a squirrel hoarding nuts for winter isn’t going to do any good. It won’t get you any closer to making those ideas a reality. You’ll just increase your digital or paper clutter, and older ideas will be buried under newer ones.

Chances are you won’t be getting to any of those ideas, either newer or older. Ever. And unless you regularly review your ideas, I wouldn’t be surprised if you forget about older ones. Yes, this is the voice of experience speaking.

Some people just can’t let go of ideas. The thought of ruthlessly hacking away at those ideas causes them psychic pain. They freeze and the hoarding continues.

If that describes you, then ask yourself these questions when confronted with your ideas:

  • Will you be able to devote time to those ideas in the near future? By near future, I mean the next two to four weeks
  • Are there markets for those ideas?
  • Can you fully develop the ideas into something tangible?

If you answer to any of those questions is no then send the idea into the trash bin. You’ll have less to worry about and more time and mental energy to focus on the projects and ideas that are really important.

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